This is part two of our blog about how understanding our relationship with money better can help us make better financial decisions 👊
Enjoy this wisdom from Spill Psychotherapist (and our new favorite money mentor), Graham Landi.
If you missed part one, check that out first, here.
Why do we spend more than we can afford? What's stopping us from sticking to a budget, even if it’s actually doable?
So I said before that we buy things we can’t really afford because of the status and power we feel it gives us.
Another factor is FOMO, especially with young people, comparing yourself to your peers and agreeing to do things you can’t afford to do.
If all that wasn’t enough, we’ve also been told a lie in modern society that more is always better. We think that choice gives us freedom, actually it makes us miserable.
There's a fantastic Ted talk by Barry Schwartz called The Paradox of Choice. We think that choice and money are enablers but it makes us feel anxious because once we have more money, we don’t know what to do with it.
What do we need to break bad money habits?
Ok, so four things.
- Education. If we’re not taught how to manage our money, we can’t expect to know how to do it. We don’t really teach it in schools.
- Congruence, A fancy word for your money goals actually matching what you have and your lifestyle. You’ve got to be willing to make your life fit your budget.
- Motivation. There are only two motivation strategies in life. Every single decision you've made is motivated either by a desire to get away from pain or towards pleasure. The motivation away from pain - in this case, debt - is never as powerful as the motivation towards pleasure – being financially stable. It’s the way to move from doing small things to keep the wolf from the door, and really being able to break long term habits.
- Desire. People are sometimes confused or dishonest with themselves about the difference between wanting to do something and feeling like they should. You need to want to get out of debt in order to achieve it, cause it’s going to be really difficult. If your motivation for doing it is because you feel like you should, you need to go back to that motivation and create a compelling picture of the future that makes you say yes. That is what I want.
What can bring us the most joy when it comes to money?
As long as you think that money will bring you joy, you’ll never find joy :)
Any final thoughts?
It’s important to remember that what we need is often very different from what we strive for.
What we strive for, certainly in modern western society tends to be more, but that's not what we need.
What we need is emotional enrichment, more time with the people we love. They are the things that remind us what a joy is to be alive. All the time we're spending on trying to accumulate, we're missing that.